Head-Fi (Purrin) review of DS


This guy must have had too much chocolate or something…


Personally I find his comments on the DS way off the mark.


Interestingly, if you read his summaries on a DAC vs DAC basis (no Off-Ramps or other ancillary support) the PWD2 seems to be at the top of the heap (or in a tie for it). Kind of makes me wonder if the DSes he heard were fresh out of the box or fully burned in. Some of his observations could be (in exaggerated form) an indication of hearing a raw DS.


Purrin is a friend. I will talk with him as to why. But I once owned the audio gd M7. It is a clone of the pwd mkii DAC as such he would put them very close. He hates the hugo and it is also close to the DS sound. So I understand why but I do not know how he finds them better. He does seem to like a very thick notd presentation and the top two do this.

I will let you guys know later. But honestly this stuff is all subjective anyway. We all have very diff end music likes and speakers are all over the place big time. I hear systems that just seem congested or recessed and the people make claims of the smallest changes and his eventful,it is. As I can hear changes too it’s way too off for me to care in the first place.


alrainbow said But honestly this stuff is all subjective anyway.
+1. I'm a member of Head-Fi even though I hardly ever post there. I've been reading this thread for some time, and I do appreciate the amount of work purrin and his "ninja" helpers have put into this. But while at the top of the thread he is careful to point out how subjective this is, as you read through the story it seems even he sometimes forgets that and presents things in a tone that is either dismissive or suggestive of some absolute reality. IMO it's hard to get through the whole thing without having the sense that he and his team are a bit of a judge and jury. Still, he deserves kudos for the significant effort involved.

My comments could just be misinterpretation on my part.


I, too, have read Purrin’s comments for a long time. He is deliberate, thoughtful, thorough and does his own measurements. I do not necessarily agree with his subjective determinations, but always find his posts interesting.

I am always amused however with blanket condemnations of another’s subjective opinion if it disagrees with one’s own. This forum is replete with purely subjective pronouncements - all just as patently invalid as Purrin’s. :)


As he has not answered me as yet. I can add this i really do like and appreciate the time he takes to do the reviews and regarding the mytek I feel he is spot on. But again it’s all what we like. And the mytek does pretty good dsd and he forgot to test it. I am not sure if he tried the offramp with the DS but if he did it makes things less connected and takes away the upper energy. I think hyper deatiled dacs like the DS get called a host of things that are just misleading ,thin , bright, low slam. And the rest of stuff I am horrible at saying. But the truth is if you do not have a good system or have not taken the time to hear ultra highend stuff with your own music this limits your view. As such it is change that needs an acquired taste over time. Little can be done at shows or show rooms. Hence the mini meets I have or go too. It may be mostly headphones but it’s very easy to pick things out this way In a group setting. Lastly there is a factor in a DAC like the DS that I do not have words for but really does exist it’s the real sounding factor. I know it’s not real but my brain tells me it’s close enough to be real. Very few dacs have this. And most on his list do not. For this reason something else is going on. When someone new to DS post,s they like the pwd mkii better this is a bright light for me that tells me they do not have that acquired taste and hopefully gets it over time. Most do. For me as soon as I turned the DS on it was there and a smile came on my face or as Ted says my toes tap. He does like the dacs we have more and I really do not . There is just no comaprrison in them other than the DS is way above them. There is one more thing the DS and the hugo do that to me is a bit of oddity. The DS does a fantastic job at playing pcm. It truly rivals some other more expensive stuff i own or have used at length. I think it is giving us all there is left on the pcm front. But it’s one small short coming is it does not present dsd at its stunning ability as others do. And not saying ifs not really good it is. It’s just that other stuff i use , own or have had at length just do it better. It leads me to the question is it just the design or a limitation of design criterrior to obtain pcm it does so well. Now this is not something anyone post about . Not saying its should be here as this place is all about finding ourselves and very good at learning all about music and audio in general. But forums like headfi are a different animal and a lost cause of idiots at times. I have posts regarding this observation and get told dsd stinks so it’s a non starter of discussion and the hugo gets praised even as it hisses cause of its sound tuning. So I do not win lmao. Please do not take offense to my stament in this it’s really nit picking at this point and the DAC is pretty solid all around.




A thoughtful post from you and raises a few interesting points. Real evaluation of kit needs to be done at home in one’s own room and system. In my experience, first impressions of hearing equipment are not always accurate. When I have purchased gear in the past, I have started off with a short list of equipment in the same dealer and had comparative listening tests. I have been able to take home either my favourite piece or even two pieces home to listen in the environment where they would end up. As a result, I seem to keep equipment for relatively long periods of time. As a complete contradiction to this usual method, I have ordered the DS kit on the basis of 20 minutes of listening in an unfamiliar system and reading the commentary on this forum, most of which is measured and considered. laugh

I am also interested in your observation about the DS capabilities playing DSD files. Is this because the design is optimised to convert PCM? Normally it is very difficult to excel at everything with one piece of equipment. My experience with universal disc players would bear this out. My Cambridge Audio BD player does a great job with BD but the results with SACD are less than wonderful. Has anyone else compared the DS performance on DSD with other comparable products?




As I posted earlier in another thread the only DSD track that I compared on another DAC, the Playback Designs MPD-5 was Sylvie by Harry Belafonte.

The MPD-5 was better than the Directstream - no question.

I have many SACD .ISO files and their 16/44.1 equivalents from the same master and there’s no question that the DSD versions are better than the Redbook with the Directstream.

Redbook CD playback, BTW, on the MPD-5 is not as good as DSD and not as good as Redbook on the Directstream…


Depending on “what” you are listening for", I tend to agree.

luckily, or unluckily, firmwares make a difference and can be re-explored. Of course, the latest release should usually be the most stable, but like it or not there are sonic differences between them. I did Question’ during beta, the DSD SQ of the latest, not because it did not sound “better” from a stage presentation perspective, but because it was moving away from some of the “soul” touching when playing DSD files. I do understand that at first play it is more “aaudiophilistically” impressive. Keep in mind that we are atp the beginning of the DS curve and Ted still has new surprises coming to keep us enjoying and debating.

Subjective, perhaps but I still “felt” it.


I like the sound of suprises. :)

I really do like this current firmware - but I kind of agree that DSD doesn’t draw me in as much as my Redbook files. I’ve always just assumed it’s because I don’t “have a history” with these new DSD files, like I do my redbook rips from CDs I’ve been enjoying for 20+ years.

If a firmware update were to take the DSD playback up a notch (I’m not sure how, but I like to keep an open mind), that would really elevate my overall listening experience since I’ve been investing in DSD a lot lately.


Live dangerously. Install Dirac (free trial) convert DSD to PCM and apply DRC. Apply DRC on native PCM as well of course. You may be in for a surprise. I would recommend this experiment to everyone hanging out here, fretting over the relative merits of DSD and PCM…


What’s DRC?

I’m happy to try an experiment if I have time! :slight_smile:


DRC= Digital room correction. You can download Dirac live for a 30 day trial. You need a $50 calibration mic, but that will be your only out of pocket for this experiment.


Or design your room to not need DRC and then enjoy DSD the way God intended :)

Ted Smith said Or design your room to not need DRC and then enjoy DSD the way God intended :)
+1. LOL. I love it.


DSD = Devine Sound Direct or Devine Smith Direct?

Frode said DSD = Devine Sound Direct?
Yes. The holiest of the holy Digital formats. The priest of digits.

Ted Smith said Or design your room to not need DRC and then enjoy DSD the way God intended :)
Not physically possible for 99% of the audiophile population. God's design objective was for us to have divine musical experiences - not to play music in any particular format.

Have you tried SOTA DRC, or are you - like the majority - objecting to it on philosophical (and now also theological :) grounds)?



No disrespect intended. We all know that there are multiple paths to audio Nirvana.

I know that careful digital processing is a wonderful gift for many people. I also know that different people listen for different things. I don’t bat an eye when people choose a different path than I do.

My experience is that something is always missing when I listen to systems with digital room correction software, digital speaker correction software or with digital speaker crossovers. Because of that I took the time to select a house and work on it to do the best I could with “architecture”. Also, for example, I also don’t treat my room with dispersion, tho I know that for many people it’s considered a necessity.

I never meant to imply that DRC is bad, just that it’s bad for me (and yes I keep hearing SOTA software and keep having the same experience.)


Yeah, I’ll flat out say it. DRC is bad. LOL

Ok, it’s fine for surround sound, but I’d rather just treat my room and correctly place my speakers and listening position for my two channel listening.

That said, I already have the digital measurement mic, so I’ll probably give it a try and see what happens. I try to have an open mind. :slight_smile: